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British Touring Car Championship
Rockingham - Race 3 Report - 28/8/16

By MJP Media | 28 August 2016

Aron Smith becomes the 12th different winner of the year by taking a 'lights to flag' victory in the last race of the day at Rockingham.

Aron Smith becomes the 12th winner of the 2016 BTCC season
Aron Smith becomes the 12th winner of the 2016 BTCC season

The reverse grid draw for the final BTCC race of the day from Rockingham put Aron Smith on pole in the BKR Volkswagen CC alongside the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R of Matt Neal. MG Racing RCIB Insurance's Ashley Sutton started on row two in his MG6GT alongside Mat Jackson in the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus. Rob Collard's Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport and Andrew Jordan's Motorbase Performance Ford Focus started on row three with current championship leader Sam Tordoff on row four with Adam Morgan. Aiden Moffat and Gordon Shedden started on an all Scottish row five.

With Aron Smith in the lead, both Matt Neal and Mat Jackson got a good start with Jackson passing Ashley Sutton for 3rd place, however the Safety Car had to be deployed for the recovery of Jack Goff's Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i M Sport which was hit by Mark Howard's BKR Volkswagen CC on the opening lap. Racing resumed on lap 4 with Andrew Jordan trying to pass Ashley Sutton for 4th place, however Jordan was himself being put under pressure by Gordon Shedden. Eventually both Shedden and Rob Collard passed Jordan who lost two places in one go.

Aron Smith defending the lead from Gordon Shedden and Colin Turkington
Aron Smith defending the lead from Gordon Shedden and Colin Turkington

Mark Howard was given a drive-through penalty for a false start as Rob Collard started chasing Ashley Sutton for 5th place while defending his own position from Adam Morgan in the WIX Racing Mercedes Benz A-Class. On lap 6, Gordon Shedden passed Mat Jackson to take 3rd place behind team-mate Matt Neal. On the next lap, Rob Collard passed Ashley Sutton for 5th place with Sutton then defending his now 6th place from the rest of the field which was bunching up behind him. Matt Neal let team-mate Gordon Shedden through into 2nd place on lap 8 while, further down the field, Silverline Subaru BMR Racing's Colin Turkington had made his way up to 7th place.

The Safety Car was deployed again on lap 9 to recover the Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze of Dave Newsham which had been hit by Ashley Sutton's MG6GT. When racing resumed a few laps later, leader Aron Smith and Gordon Shedden extended a slender gap as Colin Turkington passed Adam Morgan to take 6th place. Turkington was now on a charge, passing Mat Jackson for 4th on lap 13 and Matt Neal for 3rd on the following lap. At the front, Smith was coming under pressure from Shedden however another Safety Car period allowed the pack to bunch up so when racing resumed, Shedden had to contend with Colin Turkington's challenge for 2nd place.

A brilliant drive from Colin Turkington secured a podium finish
A brilliant drive from Colin Turkington secured a podium finish

The last three laps were a 3-way battle for the lead with Aron Smith leading Gordon Shedden and Colin Turkington. Smith held on to the lead to become the 12th different driver to win a race in 2016 - a BTCC record - with Shedden finishing 2nd. Colin Turkington finished 3rd which was a brilliant result considering he started 15th on the grid. Matt Neal finished 4th with Mat Jackson 5th and Rob Collard 6th. Adam Morgan, Jake Hill, Aiden Moffat and Jason Plato completed the top ten.

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship now heads to Silverstone on September 17th and 18th for the penultimate meeting of the 2016 season with Sam Tordoff leading the Drivers' Championship on 258 points, just 5 points ahead of Matt Neal on 253. Gordon Shedden is 3rd in the standings on 238 points with Mat Jackson 4th (230), Rob Collard 5th (227) and Colin Turkington 6th (210). With two meetings remaining on the calendar there are 13 drivers who still have a mathematical chance of winning the championship. The scene is set for a thrilling climax to the 2016 BTCC season.

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